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DM Yourself - solo roleplay for 5e, D&D and OSR adventures
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DM Yourself - solo roleplay for 5e, D&D and OSR adventures

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Welcome to DM Yourself – a guide for soloing existing adventures/campaigns written for Fifth Edition (5e), other editions of D&D or OSR. The system enables you to play these adventures with a single character, as close to the way they are written as possible. The aim is to allow players to enjoy these adventures solo with the minimum of preparation, work or additional rules, and maximum immersion. The guide includes:

  • How to Prepare for the Adventure – Increasing the PC’s power without making them invincible, putting in safeguards and rebalancing the action economy for a single PC, setting up default behaviours and choosing a difficulty level.

  • How to Read the Adventure – When to skim-read and when to deep-read, where to start and what to skip (and when to come back to it), how to avoid spoilers (but not get hung up about them), and using flashbacks.

  • How to Play the Adventure – How to act as your own GM, using immersive roleplaying rather than reading-with-dice, dealing with maps and using fog-of-war, making binding decisions and using hindsight to help you deal with secrets, traps and hidden treasure, how to run encounters and a simple AI for enemy behaviour, and interacting with NPCs.

  • …and lots more in the Appendices – a minimal DC Oracle system, pages of extended Immersion Tables and AI Combat Tactics tables, guides to soloing several of the most popular 5e adventures, how to adapt DM Yourself to other systems, and quick reference sheets.

DM Yourself was developed with the support of over 500 backers on Kickstarter, and includes all of the stretch goals from that campaign.

It’s going to be an exciting journey, so let’s get started…


 
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Reviews (7)
Discussions (15)
Customer avatar
Miguel P November 25, 2021 1:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, can someone please tell me where would be the right place to ask about my order? It says It was shipped almost a month ago and havent got It yet
Customer avatar
Tom S November 25, 2021 1:09 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Miguel. I'm sorry to hear that. I think you'll need to contact customer service - https://www.drivethrurpg.com/contact_us.php
Customer avatar
Miguel P November 25, 2021 5:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the quick answer, I will. Looking forward yo reading the book!
Customer avatar
earl M November 23, 2021 5:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi again there.
Just purchased this one and had a question.

I saw that a few months ago on reddit that you had made a comment about starting a kickstarter for DM yourself 2. Did that become a reality ? I am so curious as to if it will cover pf1e within it if so.

Would love to have an opportunity to back you there or on here ny pledging and orcpurchasing it (depending upon the model you used for sales) :-)

Thank you.
Customer avatar
Tom S November 23, 2021 5:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi! Yes there is a Kickstarter for the sequel - it's called DM Yourselves. As well as lots of other new stuff, there is about half a page on using the system with Path/Starfinder. Currently you can late pledge for PDF and/or printed copies, but within the next month or two I hope to have the PDF at least for the new book here on DriveThruRPG! The Kickstarter link for DM Yourselves: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tomscutt/dm-yourselves
Customer avatar
earl M October 17, 2021 5:02 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you both very much I will let my spouse know sicne they want to buy me something with their account for christmas and this now is on the list :-) 80% is a heck of a lot better then most other systems and also agree with Moritz M because i also do a bit of gridless combat. it is god to know that about needing a second character. i generally do so anyways or a dang good animal companion haha. Would have reponded sooner but honestly didnt see that i had any replies until just now :D
Customer avatar
Jim P September 07, 2021 12:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm going to try this with ad&d 1e. Well, when I have the time. But I'll let you know how it goes.
Customer avatar
earl M July 30, 2021 12:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
Question. You specifically say other versions of d&d. Would one of those versions be 3.5? I ask cause would love to buy this if it worked for 3.5/pf1e
Customer avatar
Tom S July 30, 2021 7:58 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Earl. I would say that maybe 80% of it will work, the rest you'll have to work out how to adapt.

There are two main issues with running DM Yourself with D&D 3.5 and PF1e: Firstly, these games and the abilities of characters are much more grid-movement and miniatures-based than 5e - the combat AI in DM Yourself handles how enemies behave in general it won't get them to the exact square to flank, or avoid being flanked (and the same goes for many other spells/abilities). Secondly, DM Yourself uses the idea of a 5e Sidekick. Older versions of D&D (pre 3rd edition) can just replace this with another PC (because the PCs in older versions are relatively simpler in terms of number of abilities etc.), but for for D&D 3.5 and PF1e, you'll either have to adapt a 5e Sidekick, or run two complex PCs.

Having said all that, I know people who have successfully run both 3.5 and PF1e adventures using DM Yourself, so it can definitely be done!

Customer avatar
Moritz M October 03, 2021 7:14 am UTC
I have played through the first two books of Rise of the Runelords solo and I have to say that at least in Pathfinder 1e enemy behaviour is not an issue. The modules describe the behaviour of all tactical thinking enemies in quite some detail including in which circumstances they use which special ability/spell. All I ever had to do was check an oracle for some details like which of my PCs get attacked when they both present attractive targets.
I also don't agree that you can't play without grid. I usually play with Terrain and minis gridless (just because I like Terrain and Minis and because it keeps my eyes away from possible spoilers in the module) and when I'm playing not at home I use theater of mind: just imagine the room/ your enemy's behaviour and then decide if they flank you or not. Just ask an oracle if you are not sure.

But yes 2PCs would be recommended. However I think you don't have to make them both evenly complicated. For one solo campaign I was playing with an allied cleric...See more
Customer avatar
Lea H July 28, 2021 2:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hello,
Which 5e core books are required if I were to use DM Yourself with an adventure module please?
Thanks :)
Customer avatar
Tom S July 28, 2021 4:59 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Lea. None of the 5e core books are absolutely required. Ideally you'd have the Player's Handbook and I do make a few references to parts of the Dungeon Master's Guide, but nothing essential. If you want to you could download the Essential Kit rules PDF (available for free) and pick up a free adventure from somewhere. Alternatively the Essentials Kit boxed product is good value for money, will give you the basic rules, some dice and a very soloable adventure.
Customer avatar
Lea H July 28, 2021 6:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Tom, Thank you for the reply, much appreciated. I just bought your book, downloaded a copy of the Essential Kit rules (thanks for the suggestion) and am probably going to go for the Player's Handbook to begin with.
All the best,
Lea
Customer avatar
Brian H July 01, 2021 9:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just received my hard copy a few days ago, and I can't read it the font is way too small. The only way it is bearable to read is with reading glasses over my regular glasses. Mind you, I don't normally need reading glasses. Also, it had a binding defect. I ended up asking for my money back, because they weren't able to fix the print issue. Please, fix the font size! I would love a new copy with a normal sized font!
Customer avatar
Antonio W June 19, 2021 10:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Love this book. After months of using this I can confidently say its the only Solo resource that, after first read, I don't feel there is another layer of book-keeping. Just some guidelines to be remembered. The only criticism i have is on the POD, whilst it looks lovely, the font is far too small for the book format. I would even purchase it again if the font was larger. Aside from that, this is THE resource for soloing modules.
Customer avatar
Alessandro B June 25, 2021 11:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Agree with Antonio. The advice is sound, but the font used is so tiny it strains your eyes. If you are over 40, get ready to pop over to SpecSavers :-)
Customer avatar
Roger P June 19, 2021 9:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I would like to know if DM Yourself would work with Adventures in Middle Earth. Someone tried?
Customer avatar
Antonio W June 19, 2021 11:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I feel this could be applied to any module of any system it terms of the overall concepts. Of course the are other system agnostic solo resources out there, but for pre-written modules, this is maybe the best one in my opinion.
Just adapt the "super pc" rules to the other system and you're set.
Customer avatar
Roger P June 21, 2021 8:03 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Antonio. I noticed in AiME's published adventures the text to be readen aloud for the players isn't boxed nor reamarked, and this setting includes new rules quite different to 5e edition core (travels, audiences, etc.). So it seems AiME's adventures are more difficult to adapt to DMless playing that the WoTC's D&D ones, or those published by Goodman Games, for example. I believe, like you, they can be played solo and DMless following DM Yourself method, but I am interested to know if something have tried before and his/her impressions, advices, etc. Anyway I expect to play an AiME adventure solo before too long, and, if I think there is something worth remarking, I will share here my impressions.
Customer avatar
Robert W April 03, 2021 5:29 pm UTC
I had a question with number or characters.
How does this work for a person who uses 2 or 3 generated characters?
Do you use the same charts for each character or is this a true solo...one generated character??
Thanks in advance.
Customer avatar
Tom S April 03, 2021 7:42 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hey Robert,
The recommendation in DM Yourself is that you use 1 PC and 1 Sidekick. Two reasons for this: firstly, it's more immersive to be playing a single PC that's your character, just like in non-solo D&D; secondly, as PCs get to higher level there can be the issue of "analysis paralysis" as you try to work out the optimal combo of moves/abilities/spells that 2 higher level PCs are capable of....the good thing about a Sidekick only having a (relatively) small set of things they can do, is that their choice of action is usually pretty straightforward. I found even with 2 PCs, combat could take a *long* time as I tried to work out the best moves.
BUT...that's just my personal preference. DM Yourself has rules for how to balance adventures for 1 PC & 1 Sidekick, but if you want to take a whole party in, then just ignore the rules about rebalancing for a smaller party. If you'd rather do 2 PCs instead, then maybe keep the balance rules, but play on Hard difficulty. DM Yourself is...See more
Customer avatar
DWDalton Adventures L January 21, 2021 3:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
For some reason I'm not allowed to write reviews, so I'll put it here.

Tom Scutt's "DM Yourself" is intended to be a solo RPG tool, and it's a most excellent one. But his real intent is deeper and more subtle. Dare I say nefarious? He's secretly training you to be an author.

Five stars.
Customer avatar
Joanne L February 23, 2021 11:46 am UTC
I could not agree more with this, even if I wanted to.
Customer avatar
Tom S February 23, 2021 1:52 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thank you both so much :) Comments like this really make it worthwhile.
Customer avatar
Chad F December 03, 2020 1:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Customer avatar
Antonio W December 01, 2020 2:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I’m so happy to know there will be a POD. Absolutely the best resource for soloing published adventures. Just went through the Ruined Tower of Zenopus with it. IMHO it beats all other methods I’ve tried. And unlike many others, this one in well written.
Customer avatar
Tom S December 16, 2020 10:35 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Thank you, Antonio! Really glad to hear that you're enjoying DM Yourself :) POD is now available (and it's turned out very nicely!)
Customer avatar
Neva C November 12, 2020 8:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Will this get a POD version? That is my preferred format for longer texts.
Customer avatar
Tom S November 13, 2020 8:37 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes it will. I got the proof yesterday. It looked really good, but I've made a couple of minor changes to the cover, which unfortunately means it's probably going to be another week before it goes live.
Customer avatar
Neva C December 12, 2020 5:57 am UTC
PURCHASER
Any updates on this? I was hoping to add it onto an order I've been building to save on shipping.
Customer avatar
Tom S December 12, 2020 11:11 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Neva. Sorry for the delay. The 2nd proof has been printed and I'm waiting for it to arrive. As soon as it does I should be able to make the POD version available.
Customer avatar
Neva C November 04, 2020 11:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Would this work with Basic Fantasy or Castles & Crusades?
Customer avatar
Tom S November 05, 2020 9:13 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Neva. Yes for Basic Fantasy (it requires a little bit of adaptation, but there's guidance in the Appendix on how to do this). I don't really know Castles & Crusades, but I think it should work for that. As well as the rule system, it also partly depends on the layout of the adventures you want to run - do they have clearly boxed/italicised location descriptions? If they do, that definitely helps when using DM Yourself.
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64
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File Last Updated:
December 21, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on November 03, 2020.
Publisher
Tom Scutt
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